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Comcast and TiVo Reach Agreement, End 4-Year Patent Fight

TiVo
(Image credit: TiVo)

Four years of disruption and chaos are finally over!

We’re talking about the long-running patent litigation battle between Comcast and TiVo, of course. On Monday, the pair finally reached agreement on a new, 15-year IP licensing pact, according to a press release jointly issued by Comcast and new TiVo parent company Xperi Holdings.

Xperi said that the agreement terms are “consistent with TiVo’s well-established licensing program for the pay TV market.

“The agreement provides for an initial payment upon execution and ongoing payments through the remainder of the agreement,” the joint press release added.

The deal is retroactive to 2016 and runs through 2031. 

“We are very pleased to conclude this agreement with Comcast, one of the world’s leading media and technology companies that is widely recognized for its innovative products and solutions,” said Samir Armaly, president, IP licensing of Xperi. “The agreement illustrates our ability to execute key renewals with our largest customers as the video market continues to experience significant technological and business evolution.”

Added Peter Kiriacoulacos, executive VP and chief procurement officer of Comcast: “This deal provides us with a reasonable licensing solution for the company’s comprehensive patent portfolio while putting the litigation behind us. We’re looking forward to a mutually successful relationship in the years to come as we continue to bring our customers the best entertainment experiences.”

TiVo fired the first legal volleys against Comcast back in 2016, shortly after the erstwhile maker of DVRs we used to call TiVo entered a $1.1 billion merger with patent giant Rovi Corp. and became the more sinister IP presence we recognize today. 

With Comcast unwilling to pay for technologies tied to its X1 video platform that it said it developed itself, TiVo's strategy became a kind of war of attrition--sue over as many patents as possible, in as many venues as possible, and force Comcast to negotiate. 

For TiVo, the expensive legal battle was existential--its ability to keep demanding tribute from other pay TV companies, and the technology vendors who serve them, would be undermined if Comcast weren't eventually brought to heel. 

Ultimately, settlement came under new management, with Xperi closing on its $3 billion purchase of TiVo earlier this year and replacing the company's litigation team with with its own IP lawyers. 

We're still waiting to talk to Xperi's barristers to find out how this deal got done. We've got a shout out to the Comcast reps, as well. 

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